Elements could prove challenging in Mighty Heart’s bid to capture Triple Crown

On Saturday, the Carroll-trained Mighty Heart will run in the $400,000 Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack looking to become the first thoroughbred in 17 years to attain the OLG Canadian Triple Crown. But there’s rain in this week’s forecast — 90 per cent Wednesday and 70 per cent Thursday — and that could impact the one-eyed colt’s bid to complete the historic sweep in the 1 1/2-mile turf race.

“I’m really not happy with the weather forecast,” Carroll stated Monday during a media gathering at her barn at Woodbine. “Obviously it’s going to be a yielding turf.

“We did put him up on the turf the other day, it was a touch soft and he skipped right across the top. I think some of the bigger, heavier horses may dig in and it might be a little tougher on them. I think he’ll skip over the top of the course.”

One of those heavier horses will be Belichick, another Carroll trainee that will compete Saturday. Belichick was second to Mighty Heart in the $1-million Queen’s Plate on Sept. 12.

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There’s a definite sense of irony that Carroll’s quest for a first career Triple Crown — and Canada’s first since Wando in 2003 — could be derailed by Mighty Heart’s stablemate.

Carroll is trying to become just the fifth trainer to condition a Triple Crown winner since the series was established in 1959.

“Obviously it crossed my mind but Belichick, I think he’s a really good horse,” Carroll said. “Again, a horse that’s steadily on the improve and you can’t deny him his shot.

“It’s more a concern for me with him, the soft turf, than it would be with the more compact Mighty Heart.”

Then again, Mighty Heart’s sire, Dramedy, won the ’15 Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes on grass at Keeneland.

“I saw the weather, a few days of rain,” said Daisuke Fukumoto, Mighty Heart’s jockey. “It might make the track different but it will be the same [for other horses also].

“His pedigree and everything, I think he’s OK on the grass and [over the] distance. Hopefully I get lucky. ”

The COVID-19 pandemic forced Woodbine Entertainment to revamp its 2020 schedule, resulting in a more condensed 2020 Triple Crown. This year, the time between the three races — which not only cover varying distances but are also run on different surfaces — is 42 days compared to 49 days in 2019.

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